Is softball a year-round commitment at Brandeis?
Yes, although multi-sport student-athletes are welcome to participate as well. In line with NCAA Division III stipulations, our non-traditional fall-ball season lasts five weeks (typically most of September in October) and consists of 16 team practice sessions with coaches, including an alumni game and a day of competition with other local programs. At the conclusion of our fall season, our players meet three times a week with a certified strength and conditioning coach for the duration of the semester to focus on sport-specific training to prevent injuries for the upcoming spring season. Our traditional season generally runs through the entire second semester, from our six-week pre-season (starting in late January and concluding in the beginning March) to the postseason tournaments (NCAA or ECAC) in May. During this time we have a week-long trip to Orlando, Florida (the middle of March) to partake in our University Athletic Association (UAA) Conference Championship and play a total of 40-48 regular season games before postseason. At the conclusion of our spring season, our players take a break for a few weeks to rest and recover before beginning our 12-week summer training program to increase their strength and conditioning.
How does team selection take place?
If you have been recruited to Brandeis University by the softball coaches and successfully complete the fall semester/season, then you are guaranteed your first year on the team. If you were not recruited but would like to try out for the team, a walk-on tryout session will be held during the fall-ball season for incoming fall students and the first week of pre-season in January for mid-year students. Decisions are made on a case-by-case basis.
How is playing time determined?
Players earn playing time by performing well at practices, working hard, talent, team needs, etc., regardless of number of years in the program or previous accolades.
How competitive is the program and the competition?
We compete in the University Athletic Association (UAA) which is one of the most competitive NCAA Division III conferences in the entire country. Typically, two or three of our six conference teams are selected to the NCAA postseason tournament every year. Our players typically compete on both high school and club programs and many of our players are captains of their respective teams, All-Conference, All-Region and All-State.
How far do you travel to compete?
Our conference play consists of a single round robin tournament held in Altamonte Springs, Florida, (just outside of Orlando) in the middle of March. This is typically the biggest trip of our season as we are gone for an entire week but the trip is fully funded by the university. Our conference opponents are: Washington University in St. Louis, Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia, Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio, and University of Rochester in Rochester, New York . The University of Chicago also has a program but does not participate in the conference tournament at present and Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and New York University are also in our conference but don’t have varsity softball programs at present. Back in region, we are fortunate to stay close to home with so many local colleges and universities in our immediate area.
How do I get recruited to Brandeis?
If you are interested in our program it is best to complete our online recruit form on our website at http://brandeisjudges.com/sports/sball/questionnaire. Once we hear from you we will be in touch and the recruiting process begins.
How do I fit softball into my academic schedule?
A major tenet of our conference is that “academics and athletics are not mutually exclusive.” That said, academic performance is extremely important to us and we expect our players to take full advantage of the wide variety of classes and our exceptional faculty while performing at the highest level on the field. The student to faculty ratio is 8:1, which affords every Brandeis student an exceptional education through individual attention. Our student-athletes can also utilize the various writing centers, libraries, and tutorials for extra help. In addition, we also engage our student-athletes in weekly study halls and bi-weekly academic meetings to chat through and track everything that is happening in their academic lives and have found that students tend do better in school during the spring season as the structure of the season helps them and they are more accustomed to balancing their time.
Is traveling abroad your junior year allowed?
Yes, we believe that a semester abroad adds to our player’s academic and social experiences. Our players typically go abroad the first semester of either their junior or senior years or one of the summers between their sophomore and junior years or their junior and senior years. In the last five years, we have had players study abroad in South Africa, Australia, and Spain.